White Shirt 101

White Shirt 101

Sticking within the confines of a singular garment, one as staple as a white shirt can be difficult for two designers with as much creative scope and talent as Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding.  However the duo have largely stuck to their guns, refining that one garment, moulding it and shaping it with finesse into pieces that are often elevated about a simple boring white shirt.  That said seeing as Levi and Matthew have self-stamped themselves with authority on this humble garment, it's only fair that they proffer up some tips on how to keep our cotton whites bright and sharp.  Therefore for one post only, I've asked the guys to go all Mrs Beeton on us and share with us their lengthy tips on how to maintain your white shirts.  I've already committed a few misdemeanors according to their guidelines, namely dry cleaning white shirts which is why I've ended up with a few griege accidents.  Never again!  I'm also going to be trying to the travel spritzer tip as wrinkles on the go are sort of the bain of my life and the reason why I look permanently dishevelled.

Tip 1. With white cotton shirts – NEVER dryclean. There is essentially a coating on white poplin that keeps the white white. Drycleaning chemicals essential strip this finish from the fabric revealing the griege fabric underneath (greige is a raw fabric, ready to be dyed or finished). This dulls the white and makes it look sad. Instead, we recommend professional wet-wash. All GOOD drycleaners offer a wetwashing service which is basically when you are too lazy to hand wash your clothes or press 30 degrees on the washing machine. They will wash and iron the shirts properly for you. It is definitely recommended to get someone else to iron your shirts for you, as this is a very tedious process.

Tip 2. If you do have the desire to iron your own shirts, to minimize the amount of effort required, when the shirt is wet from the wash, put it straight onto a hanger and tug out the creases/wrinkles as much as possible. Cotton has a memory and if you leave the shirts in a heap or over a clothes dryer, all of the creases that are in the shirt from washing will be a pain to get out.

Tip 3. Always press your shirt when damp. This will make it much easier and will give a crisp result. If its not straight from the wash then use a spray bottle and mist it with water to dampen it slightly, making it more moist where creases are worse. Start with the cuff and sleeves, then the back yoke. Next the collar, then the back of the shirt and finally the two fronts Рending on the right hand side (if you’re a woman) so that the top buttonstand is the last thing pressed. (This is how we achieve the best results) Use a little starch on the cuffs and collar if that’s yer thing.

Tip 4. When pressing a collar always do so from the underside of the collar, press from the outside tips towards the centre, this keeps your collar balanced, as over pressing in the wrong direction will warp the collar over time.

Tip 5. If you travel and need a cost effective wrinkle releaser – mix a tsp of fabric conditioner with a cup of water in a light spritzer. Hang the shirt on a hanger and spritz the wrinkles. Tug and smooth over with your hand to release the wrinkles. It's also a good tip to keep this spritzer mix in your office drawer as it is a quick way to smooth out wrinkles in your outfit before meetings.

Tip 6. While heavy steaming a shirt may get the wrinkles out, more often than not, the steam tightens the seams and leaves a slight puckering effect – always press without steam where possible, if you need additional help use a spritz bottle to dampen the fabric.

Tip 7. Also we haven’t yet tried this, but apparently to get dull whites looking bright white again try adding a small amount of liquid bluing to the wash. The best known brand is Mrs. Stewart's bluing. It adds a concentrated blue pigment to your home wash to make whites bright again. When fabric mills dye fabrics white they add small amounts of blue pigment to the dye to make the whites more optic, so it couldn't hurt to add this to a wash at home? However, we haven't personally tried this yet as we take our shirts to the cleaners, but many generations of housewives swear by it so it must be good!

Back to the latest palmer//harding S/S 13 collection which sees Palmer Harding expanding bit by bit into other garment realms but mainly so that their core offering of a white shirt has something on the bottom to go with.  A shirt is extended into a shirt dress or is seamlessly paired with an assymetric skirt or a shirt tail skirt that acts as a layer to play around with.  The array of fine cottons (supported by COTTON USA) gives different opacities to many of the looks with an emphasis on layering the diaphanous with the solid.  It's especially effective when the boys bring in strong hits of colour – what they call cinnabar orange with white layered on top.  Pale aquamarine also prevents the collection from looking too severe and helps to bring out the whiteness of the shirts.  Thin cork is used to add structure to many of the shirts and skirts, creating movement as well as adding an interesting texture contrast.  The construction of everything is of course as ever meticulous to the point of obsessive as the duo place such a strong emphasis on their technical pattern cutting, which often becomes a headache for them.  They're ultimately strong fashion problem solvers though and in the end triumph with pieces that require day-in and day-out wearing to appreciate the hidden technicalities that make you wonder why the silhouette is formed thus.




















Leave a comment
  1. Rigoberto McClure

    2012-10-11 at 10:45 AM

    Hey! Can I have the red one? I really am crazy with these outfits,especially the white and gold dress. The designs are very unique and outstanding. Thanks for the pictures, that’s fashion indeed!

  2. Lynkez

    2012-10-11 at 10:50 AM

    White is my colour. Beautiful shirts there. I admire the outfits like crazy.

  3. Wiley Prince

    2012-10-11 at 10:52 AM

    Great fashion! Whoever came up with that must be feeling proud now of the outcome.
    More stuff please…

  4. Ana

    2012-10-11 at 10:55 AM

    Tip: use distilled water (I guess filtered would work, too, but I’m not sure).
    Tap water could leave yellowish stains on the cloth/buildup in the iron.
    I didn’t know dry-cleaning led to colour-dulling; I thought it was the thing that kept the colours bright!
    I want that first shirt.

  5. Rhoda Wong

    2012-10-11 at 11:35 AM

    great tips! i love my white shirts too!

  6. Serdane

    2012-10-11 at 11:39 AM

    I love thins white pure universe. Thanks for the tips that really help.

  7. greekette

    2012-10-11 at 11:52 AM

    wow! thanks!

  8. alex

    2012-10-11 at 12:33 PM

    These shirts have really great interesting shapes, defiantly a fresh take on traditional white shirts!

  9. dipitblack

    2012-10-11 at 2:24 PM

    Love white shirts! Love the shapes and angles of these shirts you show. Beautiful pieces!

  10. Lindsey

    2012-10-11 at 3:05 PM

    Thanks for the tips, I always end up looking like a rumpled mess. Not that that’s a bad thing if that’s what you’re going for, but I’d prefer to look chic and put together.

  11. Yetanotherbeautysite

    2012-10-11 at 6:46 PM

    Very nice pictures and great tips!

  12. Christine

    2012-10-11 at 8:24 PM

    This is what creativity is all about! Making the ordinary look different is the greatest challenge. Reinventing what already exists in an unknown way shows deep and ample knowledge of life and, in this case of course, fashion.
    Loved the 3rd one down when it comes to pure white.

  13. niche

    2012-10-12 at 1:14 AM

    Tip 1 and 3 are really helpful for me. Thanks! Now I’m thinking hard about how I iron my shirts. I can’t picture it so I gotta save Tip 3 to check if I’m doing it right.

  14. Noe Farrell

    2012-10-12 at 8:06 AM

    Wow! Amazing collection and I actually confess that this is what creativity is all about! The outfit show is sexy and full of a lot of arts here. I’m absolutely impressed. by this, keep up, the shirts are cool and pretty for sure!

  15. Rosemary Schmidt

    2012-10-12 at 8:08 AM

    Awesome and inspiring tips! I love every bit of your writing and collection; so much ideas to learn here. The red with white one looks so pretty and I love such matches. Cheers!

  16. Rigoberto McClure

    2012-10-12 at 8:11 AM

    This is charming collection; the white design sounds more original and beautiful indeed. I like the fashion here, very powerful and unique! The tips too are very knowledgeable. Thanks for helping us know some creativity here. I look froward for your next!

  17. Sophie892

    2012-10-12 at 8:55 AM

    Beautiful classic white shirt. It’s always my favorite.

  18. Elvis Trujillo

    2012-10-12 at 10:00 AM

    Nice shirts and great tips. Thanks!

  19. Sari Purdy

    2012-10-12 at 10:01 AM

    I love the tips… and the white shirts and the orange, everything is great!

  20. Merete

    2012-10-15 at 8:29 AM

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  21. Nattyshirts

    2012-10-16 at 9:21 AM

    looking all dresses good!

  22. Custom shirts

    2012-10-16 at 12:41 PM

    looking nice and dresses good!

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